Rio de Janeiro – When tasked with bestowing a museum upon a city, Santiago Calatrava delivers daring drama with the use of architectural expression backed by engineering mastery. Rio’s Museu do Amanhã, also referred to as the Museum of Tomorrow, is another bulls-eye for the architect slash engineer.
The municipally spearheaded redevelopment of Pier Mauá, Rio’s prominent cruise port, was completed in time for the 2016 Olympic Games. Solar panels atop the museum’s 70-m-long cantilever flutter to capture the rays of the sun and beckon to visitors eager to see what’s inside the building.
The museum has a massive 12,600-sq-m of exhibition space spread across an interior of swoops, curves, concrete and light. An interactive scenography by Ralph Appelbaum, working under the artistic direction of Andrés Clerici, breathes life into curator Luiz Alberto Oliveira’s five overarching themes – Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrow and Nodes – which revolve around the impact of today’s decisions on future generations. A series of bespoke displays and spatial elements lend form to the various topics.
A latticed vortex of morphing colour embraces a sculpture by artist Mana Bernardes that ponders the legacy to be left for future generations. Viewers of Cosmic Horizons see an ominous scene of sliced orbs that precedes a habitable spheroid. The 11-m-high, 14-m-wide, 20-m-long elliptical cavern has a visually seamless shell and a 360-degree screen that transports visitors through the universe. Metal substructures support objects and spaces clad in thermoformed Corian, a durable stonelike material from DuPont that is suitable for all sorts of interior and exterior applications.
This piece was originally featured on Frame 114. You can purchase a copy here.